BEIJING, June 25 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said Tuesday that the country's number of registered drug users had reached 2.14 million by the end of March.
About 83.6 percent of those drug users are male. In terms of age, over half of the country's registered drug users are aged 19 to 35, 44.3 percent are 36 to 59, 0.7 percent are under 18 and 0.6 percent are over 60.
Based on an analysis of data collected over the past three years, the percentage of drug users addicted to opioids fell from 70.5 percent in 2010 to 60.6 percent in 2012, according to the ministry.
Another change involved a rise in the number of synthetic drug users. This group accounted for 72.6 percent of the total registered drug users in 2012, up from 55.6 percent in 2010.
Meanwhile, synthetic drug abuse rates are higher among younger users, the ministry said, adding that 86.5 percent of drug users under 18 abuse synthetic drugs.
The MPS also announced that Internet-based drug sales are on the rise in China.
Police across the nation have joined efforts to crack down on such online activities by sharing information and jointly investigating and verifying information, according to the MPS.
For drug users using the Internet to buy or discuss drug-related topics like purchasing, police authorities will mete out differentiated punishments. Criminal sentences will be issued to organizers and ringleaders, while addicts will be subject to drug education and rehab, the MPS said.
In October 2011, Chinese police arrested 12,125 suspects in a nationwide campaign against Internet-based drug sales and activities, and some criminal suspects were found to have used an online video platform to conduct sales and gather drug addicts.
In a bid to educate drug users and help them live drug-free lives, the country registers drug users and arranges regular police visits with them.